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Analysis of The Transcription of Kenyon Universitys Commencement Address Article - Essay Example

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The author analyzes the article ‘The Transcription of Kenyon University’s Commencement Address’ made by David Foster Wallace who is known for his social satire and his hard-hitting punch lines on socio-psychological paradigms of the evolving times are his hallmark…
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Analysis of The Transcription of Kenyon Universitys Commencement Address Article
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The article is ‘the transcription of Kenyon s commencement address’, made by David Foster Wallace on 21 May, 2005. The is known forhis social satire and his hard hitting punch lines on socio-psychological paradigms of the evolving times are his hallmark. Wallace has used this opportunity to raise the most important issue that needs to be addressed by our educational system. He has contemplated the rationale of education that refuses to look beyond the concept of ‘self’. He says that despite gaining knowledge and academic excellence, when students enter the real world, they are all caught into the vicious circle of a routine fostered by an unconscious desire to be ahead of others and thereby, lose the essence of life.
The example of fish and the story of ‘the atheist and the religious person’ are interesting narratives that emphatically put across the salient thoughts of the writer. He says that when students become responsible adults, they get so wrapped up in their own individual pursuit of their ambitions in life that they forget to apply their basic human trait that calls for understanding and compassion for others. In the speech, he says that the academic degree gives us the necessary skills to move forward in our professional and private life but unfortunately it does not teach us to be aware of small things that make us happy.
‘Education is not so much about filling you up with knowledge as it is about quote teaching you how to think’ is one of the most profound parts of the speech. Wallace has touched the core of the education system and has made direct hit. He says that academia gives us knowledge and a knowledge based capacity to think. But unfortunately, it does not give one confidence to justifiably apply the wider perspectives of those informed choices on our day to day life! We are afraid to look at the different perspectives because that may not conform with our preset aims and objectives. We, therefore, end up with a hard paced robotic life where ‘my and mine’ becomes omnipotent.
He exhorts the students to become more flexible in their outlook and look beyond the fast paced life of professionalism. He says that like atheist, who refuses to acknowledge the two eskimos as answers to his prayers, we are also deluding ourselves with our make believe successes and unrealistic goals. He acknowledges that they are good to have but at the same time, he insists that one must be ‘conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience’. It is important that knowledge is applied on a wider context so that it facilitates in understanding other people and looking at the things from their perspectives also otherwise one would be stuck in an adult life that ‘.. involves boredom, routine, and petty frustration. The parents and older folks here will know all too well what Im talking about’.
Wallace has excelled in his speech and has been able to put across his concern to the students who would shortly be entering into adult life. He wants them to become responsible adults who are able to exercise their freedom choice judiciously and interpret things and issues with wider perspectives. He has urged the students’ fraternity to become more considerate of the feelings of other people and help create a world where people are not only concerned for themselves, but have healthy respect for others also. Read More
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